By Gary Lipkowitz published October 4, 2015

11 Ways to Use Video in Your Content Marketing


Are you considering allocating budget to video? Whether it’s a one-time production in the tens of thousands or a long-term capital investment that may reach hundreds of thousands, video investments are often hard to evaluate and approve because they rarely generate a direct response.

Your video project is likely top or middle of the funnel activity, meaning ROI is hard to prove. No matter how enthusiastic your team is about video or how much you hear in digital media circles that video is the next great tactic, you need some plain talk about what type of videos to consider based on different circumstances.

With hyperbole pushed aside, let’s walk through some video types relevant to content marketing.


Brand storytelling: Video is an ideal medium for brand storytelling pieces, which can live on your website or on social media channels. Whether you’re sharing the brand values, brand origin, or brand mission, video immerses your audience in your story – and offers a richer, more nuanced experience than other media.

Explainers: When was the last time you visited a home page and didn’t see a video? Yes, it was 2008. While videos once were used only to explain complex products or solutions, now they are as likely to give a brief and engaging overview of your value proposition in two minutes or less.

Top of funnel

Advertising: Admittedly not pure-play content marketing, many companies run ads on Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube to drive traffic to their white papers and videos. Consider these supporting assets to fuel the reach of your content marketing.

Customized landing pages: Similar to the home page explainer video, landing pages that include a customized video are highly targeted proxies for your home page because they are intended to match the invitation (call to action) you’ve sent. Using inexpensive cloud-based tools, it’s easy to make hundreds or even thousands of variations of a given video. Why go through the trouble? Unbounce says that using videos on landing pages can boost conversion up to 80%.

SEO: Use video to highlight key points of a gated white paper and increase its reach and search engine rankings. Video SEO can be broken into two types:

  • You produce a video and post it publicly on YouTube to gain maximum reach and earned views. In this case, the video itself (due to Google’s high rank for YouTube) moves up your search engine rankings. The call to action in your video will attempt to direct traffic back to the white paper on your site … but in return for YouTube’s incredible reach and rank, you risk your leads getting distracted by other YouTube videos instead of following your call to action.
  • You can host the video on your site (i.e., not YouTube). Self-host or work with one of the third-party sites that specialize in simulating self-hosting. The video and supporting text will help the page itself to move up the ranking pages, meaning that traffic earned by the video is highly likely to stay on your site. It’s possible to pursue both approaches simultaneously, but best to have some variations between the videos.

Middle of funnel

Educational content: Whether a piece of thought leadership or a practical guide, educational content is the bread and butter of content marketing. Why use video? It offers an enjoyable “lean-back” experience that promises to be interesting and short. Videos can be posted to your blog, live on in evergreen learning or resource centers, or even serve as an ungated trailer next to gated content.

Email: You probably communicate regularly with prospects and customers by email. Research by Brainshark shows inclusion of video provides a 20 percent boost in open rates as well as higher click-through rates.

Bottom of funnel

About Us: Many think of bottom-of-the-funnel activities as those related to product features, price, etc. But customers in the market for an expensive product or long-term service relationship are just as interested in the “who” as they are in the “what” or “how much.” When two providers are close on quality and price, perceived trustworthiness and commitment to service often are the deciding factors. Video is an excellent medium for communicating your values or simply putting a face on your company.

Time-sensitive promotions: You’re using price breaks to close warm or stuck leads. Why not invest in video for something simple and numbers-driven like price promotions? A typical consumer gets over 10 promotional emails per day. Your price promotion will not perform well if it’s not seen – and video helps to increase open rates. Plus the richer experience of videos – music, sound effects, voice, etc. – drive home what’s special about your promotion.

PR and external communications

Rapid response to hot topics: Print is the easiest medium to produce and manage – once a statement is approved and locked down, everything else is copy and paste. But what’s the hidden cost of leaving the reader “unsupervised”? Video lets you marry tone and words, control the pace at which viewers move through a piece of content, and direct their eyes and ears to points of emphasis.

Regular performance updates: Numbers play well in charts; however, most readers are inundated by data in both raw and illustrated form. The natural impulse is to quickly scan for an uptrend or downtrend and move on. Video lets you control every moment of content consumption, right down to the pace.

This article originally appeared in the August issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bimonthly print magazine.

Looking to score big points with your target audience? CMI’s 2016 Content Marketing Playbook has tips, insights, and ideas that can help increase your success with 24 of the top content marketing tactics.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Gary Lipkowitz

Gary has always loved media, entertainment and technology and is really glad he gets to “work” in these fields. He joined GoAnimate in 2011, after spending ten years in Asia working with, Mediacorp Raintree Pictures, Yahoo! Southeast Asia, and MTV Asia. He holds a BA (Magna Cum Laude) from NYU, an MFA in Film from Northwestern, and an MBA (With Distinction) from INSEAD. Follow Gary at @L1pk0 and GoAnimate at @GoAnimate.

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  • Gotch SEO


    Thank you for writing this. I definitely agree with your strategy for leveraging the authority of YouTube to improve organic visibility of the ToFu content. This is particularly important for a new website with low authority. I think it’s important to emphasize that links can be built directly to the video hosted on YouTube. The best part is that you don’t need a ton of links to improve the organic visibility of a YouTube video since the authority is so high.

    The one point I didn’t see mentioned was the overall length of these videos at each stage of the funnel. What would you say is the recommended length for the videos at all three stages of the funnel? I’m assuming attention span increases as a prospect gets further into the funnel, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

    – Gotch

    • Katie Raebel

      Gotch – Great question about length. We get this question all the time about best video lengths for this or that. Length really isn’t an issue so long as your content is engaging and informative. I always tell our scriptwriters to front-load the content that is most relevant to the video’s title/subject matter and include the CTA relatively early. If you have room to add in some fluff or cross-promote something else, go for it but keep that towards the middle & end of your video.

      Secondly, if you’re building up a good library on YouTube, pay attention to the average audience retention across all of your videos and that will give you a good idea of where your particular viewers stand on video length. Look for common themes among demographics or types of content (case studies vs. how to’s).
      – Katie from Plum Moving Media

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  • Gary Lipkowitz

    Hi Gotch – Thanks for your comment.

    I’d prefer not go with fixed lengths. I’d rather say that a) within the context of where your video is published and b) the objective of the video you need to manage this balancing act — keep it short enough to maximize your % of completed views, while still providing enough content to motivate the viewer to act on your CTA.

    I’m not trying to be vague. I am reacting a bit to some things I’ve read where people are advocating shorter and shorter videos in the name of maximizing the % of completed views. However the completed views metric is a means to an end, not the end in itself.

    Also – even in the examples above, there are different types of videos at each stage of the funnel. So it’s hard to set an ideal length per stage. For example, in the “Bottom” section above, we list “About Us” videos and “Time-Sensitive Promotions”. I’d suggest more latitude for an “About Us” to be a bit longer (objective = relationship building) and more urgency for a “Time-Sensitive Promotion” to be shorter (objective = click thru and buy with a full head of steam).

    In general, I would agree with your assertion that attention span increases as the prospect progresses further into the funnel. Taking advantage of that, however, should be subject to the points above.

    I hope this helps.

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  • Stacey Northup

    Gary, thanks for the article! All great points. One to add, that goes with each, is the fact that you can take one video to reach greater audiences. Video content can be delivered in various forms and lengths, through several different mediums. See how we inspired Lowe’s customers with an ecosystem of content >>

  • Gary Lipkowitz

    Hi Stacey, of course! Repurposing video content is a great way to boost ROI.

  • Luis Garcia de la Fuente

    excellent info, missing an infographic about the use of video for the sales funnel…

  • Gary Lipkowitz

    Luis – Thanks for your comment. We actually spent some time on the use of video in the sales funnel in our session at #CMWorld. I’ll pass this along as a suggestion for a future CCO or blog post piece.


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  • Robert Cristobal

    Thanks for the article Gary, I am running a content strategy firm here in Singapore and these are great insights that would benefit content creators like myself. I hope there would be some sort of blog content that can connect to this one but would speak more to the clients who are undecided on the value of these types of videos. And from where I am, clients could go as extreme as a 12 minute video of them talking about how good they are, and how they have done stuff for the whole duration of their existence.

    End of the day, the info you have laid down here is an excellent tool for evangelising our part of the world on the benefit of video to communicate a brand message through valuable content.

  • ExplainVid

    Applause to You Gary, for a great article explaining the benefits of video. As for measurements of ROI of a video indeed is tricky, of course after completing a sale You can ask the consumer where did he found out about You and so on. Maybe that’s the best way if there is no tracked funnel… There is statistics about this – 74% of consumers both a product / service after watching an explainer video.